Links 5/25/2021

Bug Expert Explains Why Cicadas Are So Loud WIRED

Once Nearly Extinct, The Florida Panther Is Making A Comeback NPR

Two Peregrine Falcon Chicks Hatched Atop Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge Bklyner

Chile: 35 años de exitosa recuperación de los loros tricahue Monga Bay (timotheus). Google translation: “Chile: 35 years of successful recovery of the Tricahue parrots.” With many spectacular photos.

Cryptocurrency Has Yet to Make the World a Better Place WSJ. The deck: “An innovation that has failed to catch on for legal transactions proves invaluable to ransomers.” Something about which elites are very sensitive.

The Rise of Private Equity Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture

Don’t Blame David Swensen for 2-and-20 Hedge Funds John Authers, Bloomberg

SoftBank Answered Critics With a Strong Turnaround. Its CEO Explains What Comes Next. Barron’s

Silicon Valley Wants Dogs to Live Longer So Humans Can, Too Bloomberg. With injections of puppy blood?

Are children ‘dying like dogs’ in effort to build better batteries? Desert News (Re Silc).


Global equitable access to vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for COVID-19: The role of patents as private governance British Medical Journal

The TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver Proposal: Creating the Right Incentives in Patent Law and Politics to end the COVID-19 Pandemic (PDF) LSE Legal Studies Working Paper (2021, Forthcoming). From the Introduction: “The crisis further demonstrates the failure of high income countries (HICs) to realise the promise they made at the time of the TRIPS negotiations in 1994, that by agreeing to the terms of TRIPS, lower and middle-income countries (LMICs) would benefit from technology transfer and the building of productive capacity. As such, the current crisis is revealing not only of inadequacies of how to deal with global emergencies, but also of deficiencies within the international ‘patent bargain’ itself.”

* * *
Indirect Protection by Reducing Transmission: Ending the Pandemic with SARS-CoV-2 Vaccination (accepted manuscript) (PDF) Open Forum Infectious Diseases. A review of the literature, including RCTs. Conclusion: “In sum, the data we have reviewed provide compelling evidence that SARS-CoV-2 vaccination results in a substantial reduction in transmission risk, although the exact magnitude of overall transmission reduction is yet to be fully characterized.”

Vaccines versus variants: will the world ever reach herd immunity? FT

‘It’s a minefield’: COVID vaccine safety poses unique communication challenge Nature

Vaccine waitlist Dr. B collected data from millions. But how many did it help? MIT Technology Review

* * *
Ivermectin for prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection: a systematic review and meta-analysis (preprint) Systematic Reviews. A review of the literature. From the Interpretation: “Low to moderate-certainty evidence suggests reductions in covid-19 deaths and infections may be possible by using ivermectin. Employing ivermectin early on may reduce the number of people progressing to severe disease. The apparent safety and low cost suggest that ivermectin could have an impact on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic globally.”

Controversial ivermectin added to University of Minnesota COVID-19 drug trial Star-Tribune

* * *
The World Health Organization (WHO): A Problem of Trust Zero Anthropology

Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game: a Bourdieusian analysis of infection control science in the COVID-19 pandemic (preprint) Wellcome Open Research. Trisha Greenhalgh et al. throw down the gauntlet. From the Abstract: “Scientific and policy bodies’ failure to acknowledge and act on the evidence base for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a timely way is both a mystery and a scandal. In this study, we applied theories from Bourdieu to address the question, “How was a partial and partisan scientific account of SARS-CoV-2 transmission constructed and maintained, leading to widespread imposition of infection control policies which de-emphasised airborne transmission?” Now do Afghanistan withdrawal, #MedicareForAll, the minimum wage… Amazingly, the scientific establishment seems more open to change than most.

* * *
The Texas Mask Mystery The Atlantic. “Across the country, in fact, people’s pandemic behavior appears to be disconnected from local policy, which complicates any effort to know which COVID-19 policies actually work.”

* * *
He’s a Stanford professor and a Nobel laureate. Critics say he was dangerously misleading on Covid STAT

NYC to End Remote-School Option for Students in September Bloomberg. Let’s hope Diblasio is following the science.

A little US city, battered by the virus, tells its stories AP (AM).

Skadden Unveils Flexible Office Reopening, Covid-19 Testing Plan Bloomberg. Skadden, however, will require all unvaccinated attorneys and professional staff to test negative for Covid-19 within 48 hours of their arrival to the office or any other in-person offsite location.” Yves: “Trust the lawyers to come up with a legally pretty bulletproof to coerce employees to get vaccinated.”


Inside the Race to Avert Disaster at China’s Biggest ‘Bad Bank’ Bloomberg

Goldman Sachs wins approval for wealth management deal with China’s ICBC FT

Bernard Arnault Is Now the World’s Richest Person. Thanks China? Jing Daily

China, in global campaign, vaccinates its people in Thailand AP. Maybe Biden put Harris in charge of getting this done for U.S. citizens?

Thailand’s gold panners blame Mekong dams in China, Laos as fortune dries up South China Morning Post

US military considered using nuclear weapons against China in 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis, leaked documents show CNN (Furzy Mouse).


Myanmar: Rebels seize police post, kill security forces Deutsche Welle. “Rebels” against a coup? Really?

MYANMAR UNDER STRESS: Polarization, mediation and proxy war Shan News

Aung San Suu Kyi vows her party will ‘exist as long as people support it’ FT


After 40 days, daily Covid cases fall below 2 lakh Times of India. Lakh = 100,000.

Explainer: What is ‘black fungus’ that is hitting India’s COVID-19 patients? Reuters

COVID-19 and India’s New Viral Necropolitics The Wire

What happened to India’s farmer protests? Deutsche Welle (Re Silc).


How Soviet Jews got zapped by Zionism Immigrants as a Weapon

Young American Jews Have Reached a Tipping Point With Israel Rolling Stone

New Cold War

Russia gives Google 24 hours to delete unwanted material Deutsche Welle

Are U.S. Officials Under Silent Attack? The New Yorker

For 94% of those who died from Covid, staying at home wasn’t an option Mexico News Daily

Haiti’s Critical Weeks Ahead Americas Quarterly

Haitians protest their president in English as well as Creole, indicting US for its role in country’s political crisis The Conversation

Biden Administration

Biden administration grants humanitarian protections to Haitians in the US CNN

We’re Still Waiting for a Biden Doctrine New York Magazine

Democratic feud erupts over scope of military sexual assault bill The HIll

Democrats, Once Outraged, Take a Quieter Approach to Migrant Children NYT. But the babies! In cages!!

Weightlifting, Gatorade, birthday calls: Inside Biden’s day WaPo. Squee!


County tells Arizona Senate to keep files, threatens lawsuit over deleted election data claim NBC

Our Famously Free Press

“Fact-Checking” Takes Another Beating Matt Taibbi, TK News

Open Letter to AP AP Staffers, Google Docs

Police State Watch

The US city where police went an entire year without firing a shot Sky News


Emirates warns Boeing it will refuse 777x jets if they don’t meet commitments Reuters

At its heart, the legal battle between Apple and ‘Fortnite’ maker Epic Games is about whether or not the iPhone is a computer Business Insider

Florida governor signs ban on ‘deplatforming’ by tech companies NBC (Furzy Mouse).

Class Warfare

‘A slap in the face’: California Uber and Lyft drivers criticize pay cuts under Prop 22 Guardian

Controversial forestry experiment will be largest-ever in United States Nature

She’s a fighter pilot who saw a UFO. For real. WaPo. The URL was “this-fighter-pilot-and-working-mom-saw-a-ufo-for-real,” so I see the editor decided to dial back the propaganda just a touch.

Antidote du Jour (via):

Bonus antidote:


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. fresno dan

    Eric Feigl-Ding
    Pure joy of reaching that delicious bamboo… Happy Sunday everyone.
    I share that Panda’s frustration – how many times have you bought a treasure and it takes forever to get through than almost impenetrable packaging?

      1. fresno dan

        May 25, 2021 at 7:25 am
        so many items I have bought, still in their packages because I don’t have panda teeth…

  2. Mikel

    RE: “‘A slap in the face’: California Uber and Lyft drivers criticize pay cuts under Prop 22”

    I wonder if they also finally see how the Prop is going to be used to screw others who aren’t drivers? The slap in everyone else’s face?

    1. lyman alpha blob

      Prop 22 was the most important and consequential result in the 2020 elections, and not in a good way. The article notes that many employees can see these bait and switch tactics for what they are and Uber and Lyft are having a hard time retaining drivers. I’m now wondering if these companies will use some slippery language that gets drivers to sign up for some predetermined period of time rather than being able to quit with no consequences.

      Indentured servitude, here we come!

      1. a fax machine

        It’s no different than signing a CLP/CDL train-to-work lease (keyword being: LEASE) with a big fleet hauler. Swift is the most notorious because they’ll go to extreme lengths to use loopholes that keep bad drivers from getting banned by the police (ie, moving a driver that can’t pass a CA behind-the-wheel test to a state where employers can still do tests themselves) and to keep drivers in general on a short leash (ie, 24/7 on-call). It’s why electronic logging was going to be forced, as a way to ensure that drivers were always getting enough sleep.

        Truckers have learned these pitfalls and it’s why normal labor (ie, independently contracted, part-time, full-time) still exists. This did not come easy, and it’s where their Unions were forged (often violently, with wrecks, dropped trailers, spilled loads and blocked easements). Same for railroaders, which is what leads the opposition to attempts at allowing single-crewed trains.

        Rather horrifyingly, Tesla explicitly wants to extend this model to all Tesla buyers. Perhaps a buyer could get a lower rate for a new car if they finance through Tesla and drive for them under min wage… failure to make their payments causes their car to lock them out and drive it back to the dealer for resubmission to a different buyer. Basically what a Buy Here Pay Here car dealer is without the tow trucks.

      2. Anthony Stegman

        Prop 22 election results illustrated how selfish many people can be. Lots of people who use Uber and Lyft voted for Prop 22 because they wish to keep enjoying cheap rides, even if it means more suffering for the drivers. A sign of the times.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          I’m sure some people did vote for it for selfish reasons, however there were millions and millions spent by Uber, etc on the extremely misleading ‘yes’ campaign. I saw reports that they even distributed “yes on 22” bags that drivers had to drop off food deliveries in, which would lead people to think drivers were in favor of prop 22.

          I’ve worked on voter referendum that took on ExxonMobil and they poured millions into a misinformation campaign and it was disgusting to watch the tactics they used, including flat out lying to voters when going door to door.

    2. Dirk77

      Is there something stopping Prop 22 from appearing on the ballot again? If Uber and Lyft spent over 10x to defeat it, wouldn’t having it on the ballot year after year be a way to either get it passed or bankrupt them?

      1. diptherio

        Dude, if their “business model” isn’t enough to bankrupt them, I don’t think ballot initiatives are gonna do it. Just sayin’.

      2. Cas

        Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash funded Prop 22. Prop 22 cancelled a recently passed CA state law that classified their drivers as employers, not contractors. As I wrote at the time, it was a terrible, terrible precedent. It took so much pressure to get the legislature to pass a bill making these businesses classify their drivers as employees–really, it took years–and then after we finally get it passed, Uber et al. were able to get it reversed by spending millions on campaign ads. Ads included drivers talking about how much they loved being contractors. Any driver with any sense would have known Prop 22 was a crock, but drivers didn’t come out to protest the lies. A bit late to complain now.

    1. fresno dan

      May 25, 2021 at 7:28 am
      First, I would say it is not “brief confusion” – seems to me this has been going on for quite a while. And if hiding the logic, rulings, and legal rationale of DoJ lawyers are NOT a star chamber, than how would one describe it? What in the world would the noble, righteous, virtuous, and all around groovy Biden DoJ have in common with the bad, mean, reactionary Trump DoJ?
      And is it “shame” or just business as usual to hide the fact that “equal justice before the long” and “no man is above the law” are merely advertising slogans and no more akin to reality than “new and improved.”

    2. allan

      Judge Jackson has now unsealed her own opinion on the subject.
      (See this thread, which has a link to the opinion.)
      It makes clear that Barr used the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel for political purposes and lied repeatedly.
      Will he ever be held accountable?

      1. JBird4049

        Accountable? As opposed to everyone else across the entire political spectrum in all levels of government, the judiciary, and business anywhere in the country who never are??

        Let’s get real. Something happens and you are middle class, you’re fracked, being poor makes you extra fracked, and being a minority as well makes you extra fracked with a side of fracked, but being wealthy and/or politically connected makes you a saint and bulletproof.

  3. fresno dan

    Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game: a Bourdieusian analysis of infection control science in the COVID-19 pandemic (preprint) Wellcome Open Research. Trisha Greenhalgh et al. throw down the gauntlet. From the Abstract: “Scientific and policy bodies’ failure to acknowledge and act on the evidence base for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a timely way is both a mystery and a scandal. In this study, we applied theories from Bourdieu to address the question, “How was a partial and partisan scientific account of SARS-CoV-2 transmission constructed and maintained, leading to widespread imposition of infection control policies which de-emphasised airborne transmission?” Now do Afghanistan withdrawal, #MedicareForAll, the minimum wage… Amazingly, the scientific establishment seems more open to change than most.

    Long story short:
    Measures to counter aerosol transmission are more difficult, more costly in the short term, and (therefore) politically less popular.

  4. Toshiro_Mifune

    She’s a fighter pilot who saw a UFO. For real.

    To whoever is running this thing; The kayfabe was much more believable when the UFO stories weren’t every other day. You know, like once a year. You’re just being ham fisted with it now.

    1. curlydan

      I keep seeing lots of UFO stories, but I never hear much talk about the “physics” needed for a UFO to actually get here.

      So if there are aliens visiting from far away worlds, they would need to travel at or near light speed or somehow find a worm hole to get here even faster than light speed, right?

      So don’t we almost have to presume they’ve found a “worm hole” or some way to travel faster than light speed? Because even if there were travelling at or near light speed, it would still take thousands of years to get here then thousands of years to get back.

      I think alien life is out there, but I’m a bit skeptical that it’s as common as people think or see.

      1. Alfred

        I was just thinking that String Theory is real, and they are just slipping oh-so-slightly sideways through dimensions! I love that.

      2. Pelham

        You may be right but you assume that our current understanding of physics is complete and final, or nearly so. Maybe it isn’t, as even the theory behind the possibly credible Pais effect suggests (the Navy has taken out patents on this basis).

        I’m a longstanding UFO fan, so I’m personally inclined to believe that we’re having visitors, although I’ll calmly accept any credible alternative explanation. But I’m more than a little suspicious of the many UFO skeptics who have protested for years that the military has either concluded there’s nothing to these phenomena or contend that the fact the military hasn’t confirmed their existence amounts to a kind of disproof.

        Now that the Navy is at least semi-confirming that weird stuff is out there, the skeptics have gone into reverse, claiming that it’s a military deception. What’s a military to do?! OK, I’ll concede there’s a slim chance the skeptics are right. But the fact that they don’t readily acknowledge their own near hypocrisy on this score makes them look a bit foolish.

        1. Robert Gray

          > … you assume that our current understanding of physics is complete and final …

          One thing that history teaches us is that ‘current understanding’ (of anything!) always turns out to be a crock of shite.

      3. Grebo

        Why do you assume UFOs are alien spacecraft? Why, in the past, did people assume they were airships, angels, demons, dragons, ghosts etc.? And why do other people, believing these things to be impossible, assume UFOs therefore don’t exist?

        UFOs have been exploited by governments both to stoke up fears of foreigners and hide their own experiments. There is an official report impending thanks to Trump. I expect it will only reveal that the government knows they are out there but doesn’t know what they are.

        1. Procopius

          If you read the article at SyFy titled “SO, THOSE NAVY VIDEOS SHOWING UFOS? I’M NOT SAYING IT’S NOT ALIENS, BUT IT’S NOT ALIENS.”, it is clear that when they say they “saw” these things they are wrong. What they saw was the image on the screen of their Forward Looking Infra Red camers. There’s a guy at a site called MetaBunk who not only provides plausible explanations for what would produce those images, he duplicates the images with his own cameras. Since in the end nothing can come from these images, I’m wondering if they have something else. This is as bad as the “evidence” they claimed to have for Russiagate.

          1. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

            The “UAP” was visually observed. Again, a simple internet search verifies that statement. The individual(s) [“4 trained observers on a crystal clear day”] that observed the phenomena are either credible observers, or they are not. They are assumed to be highly trained, truthful and reliable observers.

            “David Fravor: UFOs, Aliens, Fighter Jets, and Aerospace Engineering | Lex Fridman Podcast”


    2. Dr. John Carpenter

      Just wait for the surprise twist next season: Kamala Harris is actually the Great Gazoo in disguise.

    3. Cuibono

      pretty sure i can see where this is heading:
      “Umm, America, you know that money we had saved up for Medicare and Social Security? Well, it looks like aliens absconded with it”

  5. John Siman

    One senses an air of official disappointment in the Atlantic piece ”The Texas Mask Mystery,” the title of which is perhaps slyly evocative of the name of the old slasher movie “The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre.” Why didn’t those vaccine-hesitant rednecks die? is what Atlantic readers really want to know.

    Here’s the same phenomenon reported from the other side, by none other than Ron Paul, and given the rather triumphalist title “How Texas Killed Covid”:

    “[N]ot only did the doom and gloom predicted by the lockdown fanatics fail to materialize,” Paul wrties, “but the steady, seasonal downward trend of the virus toward extinction continued regardless of government action. As we have repeated for a year on the Liberty Report, the virus was going to virus regardless of anything we did about it. And Texas proved it.”

    1. Max "Toast the Most Ghosts" Stirner

      Really looking forward to this fall and winter. It’s gonna be great.

    2. Louis Fyne

      An obvious hypothesis to me is that with strict lockdown laws: parties went underground or into people’s homes versus the local bars/restuarants with lax lockdowns. This should be somewhat testable if there is good contact tracing data.

      Almost every restaurant/bar has much better ventilation/more changes of air/more square footage per person than a typical family room.

      And by this point, another hypothesis is that the hardest hit communities (those who couldn’t lockdown—agriculture workers, recent jail inmates, etc.) had some degree of herd immunity only because their social bubbles were already hard hit.

      1. Yves Smith

        I don’t know what bars you frequent. When I think through NYC, easily 1/2 are worse that our not large den w/ 3 people normally in it.

    3. Alfred

      Yes, and their electric grid was downed by windmills and solar. Hmmm. I am willing to bet there was no Rebekah Jones to deal with in Texas.

    4. FluffytheObeseCat

      Understandably the Paul op-ed makes no mention of places that used these “tyrannical” measures……. and have had very few COVID deaths. whereas the U.S. will crack 600,000 dead even before the 21-22 winter really kicks in. In part because our PMC elites are useless, self-dealing twits, but more because their flag wrapped opponents are reliably worse. In terms of self-indulgence*, self-flattery, and sneering disregard for their fellow Americans, they actually manage to beat the Biden elite on a regular basis.

      *(i.e. Paul’s description of masks as “oxygen-restricting”, and insinuation it is a totalitarian move to ask that “ordinary people” wear them. A fair portion of our non-BS work force has worn masks for most of the day, every day, for years…… but people like Paul, who haven’t done real work in decades, don’t notice the fully oxygenated dental hygienists and finish carpenters all around them.)

  6. zagonostra

    >The World Health Organization (WHO): A Problem of Trust Zero Anthropology

    Am I wrong or does this article never mention the current head of WHO, Dr Tedros?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The nutty would be parents already left for Israel after ’67 and ’73 and made those Birthright trips nuttier than they use to be, leaving Jews in the US with less interest in Israel. Their kids reflect this. The GOP never made a dent with Jewish voters in the US despite their Israel genuflection for the last 25 years, partially for this reason.

      Polling has indicated for years Millennial US Jews weren’t admirers of Liked. They are simply almost 40 now and the voice that goes with it.

      1. km

        I don’t think Team R is seriously trying to woo Jewish voters with its slavish stance towards Israel.

        Team R is trying to keep Evangelicals on side, many (not all) of whom have a reading of Scripture that holds that the establishment of Israel to be a precondition to the Apocalypse, combined with a moral hangover following the Holocaust (“See, we aren’t bigots!“).

        1. Futility

          In their view the Jews, though, are not allowed in into the paradise supposedly following Christ’s return. Their support of Israel is purely transactional.

      1. CloverBee

        I can disagree with this. Birthright was very effective in convincing the youth that Israel was always defending itself, that they couldn’t let their guard down, and that this is our real homeland. My parents (as Americans, mother descended from a Holocaust survivor) witnessed Palestinians being evicted from their homes in 80-81, and raised me with a deep suspicion of Israeli policy towards Palestinians. I was never welcome in discussions of Israeli security with my extended family.

        Israel has given an increased voice to the Hasidic Jews, with whom Cultural and Reform Jews have little to nothing in common. This weakens the ties that American Jews have with Israel significantly.

        I do agree that the summer of protests about police violence at home have had an impact, as I am suddenly less unwelcome in those family discussions recently.

        On the other hand, this summer seems to have solidified and increased support among my Right-wing Christian family for Israel (who never really paid them much attention). Apparently they are accepting state violence along ethnic and racial lines as acceptable and necessary.

  7. PlutoniumKun

    Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game: a Bourdieusian analysis of infection control science in the COVID-19 pandemic (preprint) Wellcome Open Research.

    This is excellent, a fascinating must read. I must admit Bourdieu is one of those writers I’d read a little about years ago and then forgotten, but his works are very important and relevant for understanding how complex societal systems work.

    This is a pretty good explanation over why many Asian countries have done better than the west – quite simply, they are a little better and genuine multidisciplinary work (it also shows that individuals in key positions of authority really do matter):

    In contrast to many key public health actors in the West, then, this leading medical adviser in Japan kept a low public profile, decided that randomised controlled trial evidence and the assumptions of evidence-based medicine had little to contribute to the pressing questions around transmission, worked quickly and collaboratively with non-medical experts to produce a novel mathematically-informed hypothesis, embraced the precautionary principle (that action should be taken before scientific evidence is definitive), ignored advice from the WHO, developed a simple and catchy ‘3Cs’ message, and operated quietly but effectively behind the scenes to bring political actors up to and including the Prime Minister on board.

    This contrasts with his contemporaries in the West, whose vested interests in their own game and their decision to reject the contribution of heterodox scientists tied them firmly to contingent paths. The Japanese adviser was able to enjoy interdisciplinary collaboration in a country which seems fairly open to interfield alignment and solidarity in relation to public health.

    The main author, Trisha Greenhalgh, is one of the heroes of science for me, she has had endless abuse thrown at her (including from many eminent scientists) for the crime of being consistently proven right.

    1. David

      I think the use of Bordieu is fair enough (although, as with a lot of post-modernists his insights really come down to organised observation and applied common sense) but I’m less happy with the use of “violence,” even “symbolic” violence, to describe decision-taking in large organisations, and personnel management practices. I wonder sometimes if those who like to talk about”symbolic” violence have ever seen the real sort.

      The other thing that struck me here is that, no matter how much bureaucratic politics, power struggles and enforcement of norms were involved, some, at least, of the experts criticised believed profoundly that they were doing the right thing, and that, if they accepted the aerosol hypothesis, the wrong decisions would be taken and many people would die.

      1. Alfred

        Violence to kill the human spirit is as “real” a sort as physical violence, and is as likely to result in death. This needs to be recognized as a crime, it’s the reason monsters are ruling the Earth.

      2. PlutoniumKun

        Yup, from what I remember a lot of his writing was theoretical riffing off existing research and theories on organisational management and failure. Decision making theory had been researching this for a long time, but rarely came up with coherent analyses that went beyond ‘stupid organisations can make even smart people do stupid things’. There is rarely anything new. I can’t recall much of what he wrote about violence.

        My big problem with the experts who got the aerosol issue wrong was not that they made genuine errors, but that they dug their heels in even when it was clear they hadn’t a leg to stand on. Even worse, they resorted to outright abuse of other scientists when it was clear they were losing the argument. They fundamentally misunderstood the basics of risk assessment (especially the hazards of long tailed risks). They ignored the basics of risk management. The costs of assuming the virus was transmitted in aerosol was low, as this did not preclude other measures, such as hand washing and screens. At worst, it would have meant a lot of wasted masks and some excess expenditure on ventilation. But the cost of ignoring the evidence for aerosols was far higher, many people died because of it.

        1. Alfred

          And maybe the cost of acknowledging risk of aerosol transmission was high. I always annoyingly ask, “who paid for this study?”
          Even if the answer is the govt, that hardly makes it unbiased.

    2. Ahimsa

      Agreed, fascinating framework to analyse the competition of scientific ideas and narratives. Have only skimmed the paper thus far, but it’s critique of orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy certainly strikes a chord.

      It somehow puts me in mind of Noam Chomsky’s retort to Andrew Marr:

      “I’m not saying you’re self censoring. I’m sure you believe everything you’re saying. But what I’m saying is that if you believe something different, you wouldn’t be sitting where you’re sitting.”

      I think that equally applies to many of the doctors, scientists, and politicians in the Covid story.

    3. Yves Smith

      This is so Japanese. I’ve seen some highly competent senior-mid level managers (which is where the real power lies) be extremely creative in their problem solving (they can be very rigorous in their skepticism of received wisdom and use that critique to sell novel approaches) and then bring the power players on board. But this would never come from the top.

  8. Greg

    In the continuing saga of crypto ransoms, one of the district health boards down here in NZ has had its IT systems taken down by hackers.
    Obviously it won’t be the payment systems like Colonial, because we don’t pay, but it’ll be the same bodge of messy insecure systems. Echoes IM Doc’s comment yesterday re: the US clinic that went down (although to be clear, Waikato DHB is still operating, it’s just chaos).
    The district health boards are a mess of different systems from different vendors, which is part of the drive for centralised control under the big overhaul announced earlier this year. Which hopefully won’t just increase the scope for the next round of hackers.

  9. The Rev Kev

    “Russia gives Google 24 hours to delete unwanted material”

    Well, yeah. When it is the other kid’s bat and ball, he gets to make the rules. What did Google expect? that they could ring up their friendly neighbourhood Congressperson and get the them to “fix” this problem and make it go away? If the Russian Federation, like China, is clamping down on tech giants who think that they are above the law, who am I to disagree? I wish the same would happen in the west. Wanna know what happens if Google has a hissy fit and threatens to pull out of Russia? Not a lot. For search engines, the Russians can use their own Yandex search engine or any of the others out there. The Russians are also cracking down on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and those social media companies know that if they pull away, there are local ones that will fill the gap-

  10. PlutoniumKun

    Open Letter to AP AP Staffers, Google Docs

    I’m glad to see at least some journalists are showing signs of growing some backbone. The firing of that junior reporter was so obviously an act of cowardice and stupidity it seems even regular news staff are noticing.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      Thank you yes, for defending Wilder. Knuckling under to the Ben Shapiros of this world is repulsive.

    2. Eustachedesaintpierre

      Putting it nicely I guess that the emotionally intelligent are the most successful in getting to a position of producing the copy that suits their bosses, advertisers, sponsors etc. Maybe their are real journalists out there that are not given the chance, who have to just tow the line in order to pay the bills.

      I have not spent much time working for companies but when I have it has been always as witness to lickspittle; scum floating to the top – maybe just my bad luck. I found out recently that a grovelling incompetent who had been a fellow trainee manager, but also the very dedicated tea & anything else the bosses required boy over 40 years ago had done very well for himself. Information which had me for a few seconds regretting the decision that led to me leaving, with my then trophy girlfriend very shortly doing the very same, but to me.

      Non, je ne regrette rien……truly.

  11. a fax machine

    In “election ’24” news, Biden has already blown it:

    “U.S. President Joe Biden will rely on ally countries to supply the bulk of the metals needed to build electric vehicles and focus on processing them domestically into battery parts, part of a strategy designed to placate environmentalists, two administration officials with direct knowledge told Reuters.”

    From October 22nd, 2020:

    “Joe Biden’s campaign has privately told U.S. miners it would support boosting domestic production of metals used to make electric vehicles, solar panels and other products crucial to his climate plan, according to three sources familiar with the matter, in a boon for the mining industry.”

    I’m not one to make judgements about the future or to attempt to prophesize, however: between this, the refusal to cancel student loans, the refusal to issue the full $2k stimulus checks, the refusal to do M4A, and the growing ICE camps Biden is making a good case to stay home next time. Sanders was right is cliche but he’s been proven right again. Personally, I’d start betting on DeSantis or Cruz.

    1. Geo

      Will be interesting to see if narrative wins over reality. Most people I know seem to believe the hype that Biden is waving his magic wand and fixing everything. They only hear the news reports talking about his pronouncements and don’t hear (or pay attention to) the news of his flip flops.

      We seem to be a society to clings to myths that make us happy rather than one that seeks the truth.

      1. Pat

        Considering how many people still love the Obamas, it may be a safe bet on their part.

        They repudiated the one aspect of the Obama administration that was becoming problematic for the PMC resistors, the skimpy stimulus. This one was also skimpy if you look at the details, but it was hailed as massive. And the donors largely made out like bandits from it. Too many of them might take a hit if they lived up to their PR rhetoric.

        They have also decided in advance to blame the census and redistricting for their mid term losses. But all function with one rule never ever pay attention to the voters. Any and all attention/help/goodies must only be cast offs from the wealthy donors. It will be interesting to see what Biden considers worthy to expend political capital upon.

  12. The Rev Kev

    “Weightlifting, Gatorade, birthday calls: Inside Biden’s day”

    ‘Biden is not a voracious consumer of TV, but he does watch the morning shows when he’s working out, usually CNN’s “New Day” or MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”’

    So old Joe gets his public information from CNN & MSNBC? Yeah, that would explain a lot. Does he watch Rachel Maddow too? Going back years, the Democrat establishment were taunting the supporters of Bernie Sanders with the sobriquet of “Bernie Bros” but you know what? With the brown-nosing in this Washington Post article along with other main stream media articles, I think that we can now start using the term “Biden Bros” as the shoe definitely fits here. C’mon man, you know its true. You know – the thing.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Democratic feud erupts over scope of military sexual assault bill The HIll

    Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) came to the Senate floor on Monday to try to get a vote on her bipartisan bill, which has enough co-sponsors to defeat a 60-vote legislative filibuster.

    (The bill has 62 co-sponsors.)

    So, lemme get this straight. The dastardly senate filibuster is routinely decried as setting an impossibly high bar for passing “legislation” in the senate, but when 62 senators support something, ONE SINGLE GUY can prevent them from being able to “vote” on it, because that ONE SINGLE GUY doesn’t like it. And supposedly there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Not even 62 anybodies can do anything about it.

    I’ll go out on a limb here and say that “the world’s greatest ‘legislative’ body” will pull just about any shit they can think of not to have to rock the boat by “legislating” anything, except the names of post officies.

    1. Alfred

      The Old Boy Network in the military is not worried, even by a supermajority. The Dems will say, “We tried and we almost made it this time!” and it will get buried in the NDAA again.

  14. Tom Collins' Moscow Mule

    “She’s a fighter pilot who saw a UFO. For real.”

    Does direct personal experience, instrument recording, and possible physical artefacts/remnants of the reported phenomena have any relevance, meaning, significance, ect.? Again, many possible lines of inquiry and explanations are available. They are widely available through simple internet searches. However,

    1. “Our only hope of understanding the universe is to look at it from as many different points of view as possible. This is one of the reasons why the data of the mystical consciousness can usefully supplement those of the mind in its normal state.”– “Possible Worlds And Other Essays”, JBS Haldane, p.286

    2. “One could imagine that UAP represent physical craft equipped with the means to interact both with the surrounding atmosphere and with the senses of observers in such a way as to convey a false image of their real nature. One could argue that such an object could use microwave devices to create perceptual hallucinations in the witnesses (including messages that are heard or seen by a single individual in a group). Even such a complex scheme, however, fails to explain all the reported effects and the subsequent behavior changes in close-range witnesses. We must assume something more, the triggering of deep-seated processes within their personality. The question then becomes: to what extent are these effects evidence of a purposeful action of the operators? To answer this question, and to test more fully the hypothesis that UAP phenomena are both physical and psychic in nature, we need much better investigations, a great upgrading of data quality, and a more informed analysis not only of the object being described, but of the impact of the observation on the witnesses and their social environment.”–“Incommensurability, Orthodoxy and the Physics of High Strangeness: A 6-layer Model for Anomalous Phenomena”

    3. HINT [See point 1. above]: “T A S T E: The Archives of Scientists’ Transcendental Experiences”

    1. newcatty

      The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

      Albert Einstein

  15. Jason Boxman

    Didn’t see this yet; In case you were wondering (I have been for 6 months), it seems you can get symptoms consistent with long-COVID even if you’re vaccinated. Be safe.

    C.D.C. Will Not Investigate Mild Infections in Vaccinated Americans:

    Julie Cohn was fully vaccinated when she went to cheer at her 12-year-old son’s basketball game in March. Midway through the match, he asked to remove his mask because he was getting so hot. She thought little of it.

    Three days later, he had a sore throat. He tested positive for the coronavirus, as did his younger brother a few days later. Ms. Cohn cared for them, thinking she was protected, but she woke up with what seemed like a head cold on March 28. The next day, she, too, tested positive.

    Ms. Cohn wasn’t hospitalized, but she experienced body aches, chills and digestive problems for about two weeks. She was left with fatigue, headaches, brain fog and vertigo so severe and sudden that she crashed her car into the garage one day.

    She is still not back to her daily three-mile runs with her dog because of shortness of breath. “I’m young, 43, healthy, with no pre-existing conditions, but you often find me now on the couch resting,” Ms. Cohn said.

    1. Pelham

      Thanks for highlighting this. Right now, long covid is what personally scares me most. It’s getting more attention but not nearly enough, given that we have no idea how long these disabling symptoms will last. Are they lifelong?

  16. Kouros

    The New Yorker article about US gov workers. The effects of dealing with BS all the time was not discussed as a potential cause of their symptoms.

  17. Juan Tutreego

    “Are U.S. Officials Under Silent Attack? The New Yorker”

    There’s a giant hole in this story, which is that microwaves are easily detectable. You can buy a household detector for under $30, a certified wide-band RF/microwave detector for under $200, and the people who maintain the ubiquitous microwave communications network have even better gadgets. Wouldn’t an embassy security staff have such capability, if only to look for spy-bugs? It seems beyond the pale that if the Russkies or Cubans were doing this, it would not be instantly detected. So this lacks credibility.

    1. Grumpy Engineer

      Same thing with acoustic attacks. It wouldn’t be difficult to rig up microphones, recorders, and spectrum analyzers to use as a detection and analysis system.

      I pretty much had the exact same thought when reading articles about these purported embassy attacks: Isn’t anybody setting up instrumentation to look for this stuff? Microwaves and/or sound waves that are strong enough to cause physical injury are pretty easy to detect.

      1. wilroncanada

        to Grumpy et al
        You hear a lot of strange things when you have your head up your a$$. Remaining in such a position throughout the work day under the orders of your bosses can no doubt cause major headaches along with other maladies.

      2. The Rev Kev

        I know that I should make a serious comment on this article but I can’t. The whole thing is just a bogus media story, probably CIA planted, which was used to bash the Cubans with and now the Russians. Next it will be the Chinese and the Iranians. U.S. Officials are under silent attack? Are they sure they know what the source of this silent attack actually is? (2:09mins)

  18. marym

    Re: 2020 Arizona

    “On Tuesday morning, the [Arizona House] Appropriations Committee stripped Secretary of State Katie Hobbs of her ability to defend election lawsuits. It gave the power exclusively to the Attorney General…The legislature will now decide whether to pass the moves the Appropriations Committee has made…”

    “Company running Arizona ballot recount backs out, another company takes over…”

    “The Pennsylvania-based IT company that was in charge of running the hand recount of Maricopa County ballots is no longer involved in the audit.

    The contract with Wake TSI ended May 14, the original completion date for the hand count, and the company chose not to renew its contract…”

    1. wilroncanada

      Marym: See my comment above to the general malady of government. It must by now be epidemic in Arizonia, along with the grift. One contractor hires another contractor to hire another contractor ad infinitum. All those people bent to their tasks! As my mother used to say: ” Keep your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel, your ear to the wheel, and your eye on the prize. Then try to work in that position.”

  19. The Rev Kev

    “We’re Still Waiting for a Biden Doctrine ‘

    We already know what it is – “Nothing will fundamentally change.” He said so himself. Three weeks into his Presidency he bombs Syria. He reneges on the pull-out deal with the Taliban, kills the $15 an hour minimum wage, says that student debt relief is out, and all the rest of it. In essence, Neocon abroad and Neoliberal at home. Come your midterms next year the Democrats will lose their majorities at which point the Democrats will say that they can do nothing because of ratbag Republicans. But if people vote for them in 2024, then for sure they will be able to get stuff done for people.

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